August 20, 2014
Hello family and friends,
I can’t believe that I am going to be in the mission field in Virginia in two weeks. The days here in the CCM go by slow but the weeks just fly by. It’s so strange to think that I have been away from Arizona for almost a full month.
Last P-day, Elder Mann, from New Zealand, and I taught a bunch of Latinos from Mexico and Colombia how to play two hand touch rugby. After we played with them for a little bit, they said that they really liked it and they thought it was as fun as soccer. Now that´s an accomplishment to get a Latino to say that another sport is just as good as soccer, or as it is called here, futbol.
The guys Brazil and the Dominican Republic wanted to arm wrestle me because they thought they could beat me, but I ended up winning both times.
There has been a package being sent around our district that includes a bunch of treats from a mystery friend. There are also 50 pesos in the package with instructions to buy treats and then send the package to another person in our district. Elder McCall and I were able to figure out that it was Elder Schwartz who started it all, but we haven’t told him that we know it is him. Elder Schwartz is so selfless.
It has been hard to sleep at night in the CCM, lately. It’s always too hot in our dorms because there is no air conditioning, so we have to open our windows at night to at least get some air circulation. The problem is Mexico City is busy like New York City is. It’s a party all night long. You can hear lots of traffic noise because there are over 20 million people here in Mexico City, and the people here really like to honk their car horns and set off fireworks all night long so that you end up trying to sleep with a ton of noise going on around you. Thursday night, Elder McCall and I were sleeping and then we woke up at 1:00 a.m. to this super weird noise coming from a speakerphone. We honestly thought there was some type of alien invasion or something because the voice coming out of the speaker was so distorted and they were saying the same thing over and over again. One of our Latinos friends in our dorm was awake so we had him come listen to the noise. After he listened for a couple of seconds he started laughing and said it was only a tamale truck driving by the CCM and the person on the speakerphone was just saying “'Tamales, get your tamales here,” in Spanish.
On Friday, Elder McCall and I went to purchase something at the tienda, or store, here at the CCM. We get 100 pesos a week to spend at the tienda. When we got there we found out that they weren’t accepting credit cards or the cash cards that missionaries receive each week. So, Elder McCall went over to get some pesos from the card machine but instead of pulling out a 100 pesos he ended up pulling out 1000 pesos, about 70 US dollars. The card machine wouldn’t let him deposit the money back in. I guess he’ll have to spend it all before he leaves.
On Saturday I had a couple of really cool experiences. In the morning our teacher had us do this activity where he paired us up with someone in our district. Then we were instructed to talk about what we each felt like we were struggling with here in the MTC. Then we were supposed to receive revelation for that person to help them become a better missionary. I was partnered up with Elder B. He told me about himself and then explained that he had been struggling with learning Spanish, since I’m district leader I already knew this but, and he felt like it was because of a lack of faith. After he told me all the information, I prayed that I would be able to receive inspiration on how to help him with his problem. Instead of receiving an answer on how to help him with his faith, I felt impressed that faith wasn't a problem for him at all but it was his works [work ethic]. So I showed him a bunch of scriptures that talked about how it was important to have faith but it was also really important to have works. Ever since we did that activity, Elder B. has been working really, really hard to learn the language. I think that what I told him was definitely what the Lord wanted him to hear.
Later in the day on Saturday, our district got the opportunity to teach a person that was pretending to be a less active member. However, our teacher came up to Elder McCall and I and told us he wanted us to teach a REAL less active member. Elder McCall and I were really worried at first because all the other lessons we had taught had either been with a staff member here in the CCM who was pretending to be an investigator or one of our fellow missionaries was pretending to be an investigator, so we prayed before we went in to teach her. Elder McCall and I taught a woman named Taynia who was lives in Mexico City. After we talked to her for a little bit, we felt like we needed to teach her about the Plan of Salvation. Even though we were teaching in our broken Spanish and we had a hard time understanding her because she was speaking so fast, I feel like the lesson went really well. We got her to pray at the end of the lesson, which is always a good thing.
Our zone leaders for the past two weeks left for the field two days ago so we got two new zone leaders. Every day we teach three lessons to investigators, two of the lessons are with our two teachers who are pretending to be an investigator and the other lesson is with one of the other missionaries of our district. On
Monday night we were teaching one of the missionaries from our district. Elder McCall and I had a lesson prepared and as we started talking with them we felt like we needed to abandon our previously planned lesson plan and talk only about El Libro de Mormon[the book of Mormon] Elder McCall and I spent twenty minutes teaching him about El Libro de Mormon and then we bore our testimony. The spirit was so strong during the lesson especially when Elder McCall and I were bearing our testimonies. When I was bearing my testimony I felt the spirit so strong and I have never felt the spirit so strong before in my life. It was an amazing experience and I definitely learned from that lesson that it is so important to follow the spirit and teach what the spirit tells you to teach.
On Monday morning we had to say goodbye to our Latino friends, which was really sad because I’ve really grown to like all of those guys. Yesterday night we got a new group of Latino friends. This is our third group because Latinos stay here only 2 weeks whereas we are here for 6. The new Latinos that share our dorm are so amazing. One of the Latinos knows English really well and he speaks Spanish really fast so its going to be a really good opportunity for us for white guys who are staying with them because it will help us to understand Spanish when people are speaking fast.
Every Tuesday night we have a devotional. Last night Elder Piper from the Area seventy came to talk to us. He talked about the importance of missionaries and members working together. He said, “To have success as a missionary in bringing others to Christ and to hasten God´s work, depends on our ability to be one with the members.” I never realized how important it is, as members, to be close to the missionaries and work together with them to bring souls to Christ. I would like to encourage every one back home and anyone who is reading my letter to work closely with the missionaries in your area so that you can bring souls to Christ.
Here is a picture of me and the Latinos who have been in our dorm that past two weeks. They are Elder Alvarez on the left and Elder Santamaria on the right. They left Tuesday morning.
Picture of me and Elder Nascimiento from Brazil (left) and Elder Alva from Mexico (right).